A recent vacation has taught me some valuable lessons about accessible travel and I'd like to share it with you. My temporary admiration, which only lasted a few months, gave me valuable firsthand experiences that will benefit our readers.
My career spanning several decades, specializing as a disability insurance consultant, has given me a unique perspective of actively engaging with employees of client companies that make claims for long-term disability. We mainly "advise" disabled employees who were submitting LTD claims and who did not understand the claims process.
"Wall collision" … When a problem occurs, there is a "shock" that we "cross the line" in one moment. One minute we are healthy, and we are later disabled. It happens while it takes you to read this paragraph.
The most obvious effect on their "self" began with a psychological effect that was no longer in excellent health without any restrictions. When added to the immediate negative effect of their medical condition, it was likened to "wall walking." In addition to the physical and emotional trauma of your disability, the additional impact of immediate lifestyle changes may be overwhelming for the most difficult of souls.
How do we get to the bedroom on the second floor in a wheelchair? How will you enter the bathroom? Where do we buy a railroad to take over the bathroom? Who will install it? For elderly people with joints hands, where to find clothes or shoes with velcro containers. They are very welcome benefits for the elderly with articular fingers.
At the worst time imaginable, decisions about adapting to a completely new and completely different lifestyle must be made.
Since I was a month away from the rotator cuff surgery, I couldn't use one arm naturally. We took public transportation from Paris's de Gaulle airport which led us to the "tube" (London's express transportation system). When we got to our position in the basement of the hotel, we discovered that there was no "elevator" (elevator to street level). After pulling two heavy bags with one arm, over steep stairs, I was grateful for my “good” arm.
Upon returning to the United States, I went online and conducted my first accessible travel research. My first assignment was to prepare a map of the London express transport system and a new world of opportunity appeared on the screen of my computer. There was a map of the entire London express system where I could see all the transportation stations that had “elevators” (elevators).
Then I looked for hotels and breakfasts that were close to stations with elevators. If I am disabled for the next time, I will simply plan an accessible travel to enjoy a trip to London.
The main message here is "Do your homework" before embarking on your vacation trips. I believe that future vacations will bring you more fun and then you can imagine.
The next part of the accessible travel trip was an invitation to speak to Parkinson's Support Group. Since I created a brochure on accessible travel opportunities, I discovered a young Manchurian and Biologist online. I asked if I was willing to talk about travel available for a group of 40 to 50 people consisting of Parkinson's patients and their carers.
What I learned next is perhaps the most valuable lesson I can give to anyone with any form of disability or disability who used to travel but stopped completely. Epiphany happened when he simply asked me if members of the support group had any difficulties with their trips. What I heard next was "YES", it seems that every person in the group basically has completely stopped traveling!
Since my working life includes helping people file a disability suit, I have discovered that there are many differences in the severity of Parkinson's disease. I learned that there were people with symptoms that initially lead to a specific diagnosis of Parkinson's disease even those who have severe disabilities and are quite handicapped. It appears that with the initial diagnosis, this was a major factor in stopping their travel. It may have been assumed that continuing to travel would be too much to deal with.
When asked what happened, there was no way to know whether a conscious decision was made or not. She wondered if the fear of the unknown, or perhaps "traveling" would be too much. Was there a fear of getting away from their doctors or treatment facilities? Or is she just afraid of the unknown?
Another option I thought about involved many of us was feeling more comfortable with familiar surroundings. We have all heard the phrase "habit creatures". For most people, we know that "home is where the heart is". More than being honest, our homes are where we are most comfortable. Familiar surroundings brings us comfortable feeling.
Don't we have all of our favorite restaurants? I know for me that there are at least three different paths I can take to my office, all at the same distance but I still have to make a conscious effort to change my way.
Returning to Parkinson's support group experience, each member came with a husband, parent, or friend who was the caregiver. I asked the audience to show my hands to those who had Parkinson's. Then I asked if it was disturbing that holiday trips had stopped. There was universal recognition.
I fully understand that it can be the most annoying thing that you watched a family member having an acute health problem. There is no way that healthcare providers can fully appreciate the impact of declining health. The most important point I want to make is that you are the person who has become more vulnerable due to a medical condition at risk, please note the effect on your partner who is no longer joining you on vacations and acknowledging your awareness of their care and changes in lifestyle.
Alan Chikway, RHU